It’s been a busy few weeks here at Craft Insurance, but I won’t bore you with that – we all know insurance really isn’t very interesting at all. The thing that I love most about my job, is seeing and hearing about all the amazing work that our customer produce. I’ve been known to daub a bit of paint on a canvas every now and then, but have never had the drive or motivation that our customers have to make anything of it, and I think that’s what I find so fascinating. Finding out what can drive people to make their hobby or talent, into a business, instead of sitting on the sofa, thinking about all the wonderful arty things I could be doing, whilst nursing a tub of ice cream.
This week, I’ve been picking the brain of Louise Braithwaite, who is a fantastically talented and original artist. I for one find her ambition and energy inspirational. Louise is a perfect example, in my opinion, that with a bit of a fire in the belly, the arts and crafts world really can be your oyster (had to think twice then as to whether the correct saying was oyster or lobster!?)
I’m Louise Braithwaite and my business is Mad Lou Publishing Ltd.
I sell original art, limited edition prints, greetings cards, fine bone china, wooden jigsaws and place mats either directly over the internet or at shows (Hampton Court Flower Show, Spirit of Christmas etc)
I’ve been a professional artist for the last 19 years but started Mad Lou Publishing about 9 years ago to sell mainly prints and cards. I work full time. After the school run, I go over to my studio which is next to my house near Petersfield and work all day. I stop to either walk the dog or play tennis and sometimes people turn up to my studio to discuss commissions. My children are now teenagers so it’s becoming easier. My husband works as my manager and deals with all trade orders, show bookings, accounts etc. which helps hugely so I can concentrate on painting.
Because my paintings are figurative I paint a lot of weddings, birthday parties, people’s houses etc. At the moment I’m working furiously towards the Affordable Art Fair in Battersea Park in March where I have my own stand. I also sell other artist’s work here. I like to think my paintings are fairly unique and nicely branded with a good price range. If I’m doing a show a customer can buy a greetings card for £1.50 or an original for £2000 so hopefully there’s something for everyone! I’m always introducing new prints and cards. In the next few weeks I’ll be producing new prints of Brighton, Wimbledon Theatre and the King’s Road.
There are a few celebrities who collect my work which is nice. Joan Rivers owned a few and Martin Clunes and Masterchef John Turode collect them. I have a couple of websites for originals and for everything else.
My Advice to people starting out in the art world is, Be pro-active. Get out there and try and meet customers face to face. With all the shows we do throughout the year we have the potential of meeting hundreds and thousands of people and we’ve proved that these shows work. Don’t just sit in a studio and expect people to come to you!